FAIRFIELD — Young and a little inexperienced, the Rodriguez High wrestling team is still getting the job done.
The Mustangs, with just four seniors competing, picked up a 44-20 Monticello Empire League victory over Napa, Wednesday.
The match was close at 17-16, but Rodriguez won six of the last seven matches to seal the victory.
“We only have four seniors in our lineup, so it’s a young group,” Mustangs coach Mike Clarkston said. “They are starters and they are all good, but since they are so young, sometimes . . . consistency is a problem. It’s all about them all showing up on the same night.”
Rodriguez jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead after Emilio Gutierrez (162 pounds, 13-9 win), Josh Weiss (172, 14-2), Christian Chubbs (184, forfeit) and Israel Colozza (197, 14-6) all picked up wins, with Weiss and Colozza winning by major decisions.
But Napa stormed back, winning the 220-, 285- and 106-pound matches to make the score 17-16.
Then the Mustangs poured it on.
Brandon Almenia (113) started with a 13-0 major decision victory, recording two takedowns, a reversal and three takedowns in the win before JoeMar Anicete (122) won his match by injury default Napa’s grappler appeared to suffer a hyperextended elbow. Anicete was trailing 2-1 at the time just seconds into the third period. That gave Rodriguez a 27-16 lead.
“I would have liked to see the injury default match play out,” Clarkston said. “JoeMar was getting on top and that’s where he scores points. We may have pulled that one out still.”
Senior Brandon Vu, a returning state qualifier for the Mustangs, upped his team’s lead to 32-16 with a 15-0 technical fall, dominating the match after holding a small lead of 2-0 after the opening period.
Vu Took complete control in the second, scoring a reversal and three 3-point near falls in a span of 1 minute, 30 seconds to take a 13-0 lead into the final period. Vu quickly ended the match, recording a 2-point near fall to automatically end the match with at least a 15-point lead.
“That’s kind of his thing,” Clarkston said of Vu. “He’s not really a pinner, but he’s been racking up points all season long. (Napa’s) guy was a Masters qualifier. They were playing some strategy trying to catch Vu (and it didn’t work).”
After Andrew Sta Maria fell at 134 pounds, cutting Rodriguez’s lead to 32-20, the Mustangs’ Malachi Estep won 8-1 at 140 pounds, Jarrod Guinn (147) recorded a pin in 2:28 and Brandon Diaz closed out the evening with a 9-5 win at 154 pounds.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.